The Ancillary Portfolio

Love At First Sight

How vision insurance helps transform client morale

by Wendy Herndon

Ms. Herndon is second vice president of Product Development and Implementation at Aflac. Visit

Sight is the most beloved of the five human senses. This may seem like a bold statement, because who among us does not love the smell of freshly cut grass or savor the taste of warm soup in winter? But the data backs it up: A 2018 YouGov study found that 70 percent of Americans would miss their ability to see more than any other sense.Given that vision is so important to Americans at large, employers should view it as a similarly high priority. But here is the problem: Eye exams are often expensive, and the cost of frames and lenses, contact lenses and treatment for eye disorders can be daunting. That is why vision insurance is so important to Americans and their families.

In fact, most employees today have come to expect companies to offer vision insurance as part of a robust benefits package. Beyond helping maintain healthy eyesight, vision exams can help spot high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and even brain tumors.

When meeting with clients to discuss their benefits packages, it can also be helpful to remind them that additional health care benefits, including voluntary insurance options, are critical to employee morale, as well as to worker satisfaction and retention.

The 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report includes several findings that support this point of view. On the recruitment side, the report found that 55 percent of American workers are at least somewhat likely to take a job with slightly lower pay but a better benefits package.2 Employers must understand and work to accommodate this growing priority. Consider how welcoming it would feel for a prospective employee with chronic vision troubles to notice that a company will go the extra mile to make sure their needs are insured.

The report also shows the positive effects that worthwhile benefits have on current employees. More than 70 percent of employees reported that benefits are highly important to their well-being, financial health and job satisfaction.2 Additionally, more than one-third of workers either completely or strongly agreed that an improved benefits package would help keep them in their current job.2 Brokers can use data like this as jumping-off points for a larger discussion about the importance of wide-ranging benefits options, including vision insurance.

Helping clients see value in eye care

A broker’s job is to inform clients of the clear value of vision insurance – and it is not difficult to see the workplace advantages of helping employees stay up to date on their optical care. Consider a scenario where an employee who has delayed eye treatment due to high costs is operating machinery at work – that is something that should concern an employer. It puts both the employee’s health and the business at risk, and it illustrates why offering vision insurance is so important.

Given that eye problems can quickly become a major concern, it only makes sense that employees want to safeguard their vision while at work. As a broker, you can help these efforts by reminding your clients that there are a couple of easy steps that can help ensure employees’ eyes are protected while on the job:

On the recruitment side, the report found that 55 percent of American workers are at least somewhat likely to take a job with slightly lower pay but a better benefits package...

  • In workplaces that require manual labor or machinery, employers are expected to provide safe work environments, which may mean requiring protective eyewear. If a workplace requires that employees wear safety goggles, brokers should advise their companies to thoroughly monitor for compliance. The benefits not only include better protecting workers’ vision, but also helping protect their organizations from lawsuits or worker’s compensation claims.
  • In more typical office spaces, the nature of eyesight endangerment is less obvious. Many employees spend long hours staring at their computer screens – in addition to all the time spent on their smartphones at home or during train or bus commutes. As a result, workers may suffer from eye fatigue, dry eyes or worse. Brokers and agents can urge clients to communicate the 20-20-20 rule recommended by optometrists to help prevent eye strain: Every 20 minutes, workers should lift their eyes from their screens and look 20 feet in front of themselves for 20 seconds.3

In addition to taking steps at work to protect eyes from damage or injury, employers should encourage their employees to schedule regular eye exams. The American Optometric Association recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 undergo an eye exam once every two years and that those over age 60 undergo an annual exam.4

Clearly, it is time to help your clients see the light – benefits are critical to employee morale, and employers can ensure their packages are more comprehensive by adding voluntary insurance products such as vision insurance. And there is more good news: Because voluntary insurance premiums are paid by employees who elect to apply and enroll, these products can be made available with no direct effect on companies’ bottom lines, all while helping protect employees’ wallets – and their vision.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a solicitation.
1 YouGov. “Of the five senses, a majority would miss sight the most.”
2 The 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report is the eighth annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Lightspeed, captured responses from 1,700 benefits decision-makers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries. For more information, visit
3 American Optometric Association. “Put Your Digital Devices to Bed Early: Optometrists Caution Overexposure to Blue Light May Cause Health Issues”
4 American Optometric Association. “Recommended eye examination frequency for pediatric patients and adults.”
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.